We must give better support to COVID's young carers

By Charlotte Ramsden | 12 May 2021

Over the last 12 months, the experiences of, and support for, young carers has regularly come to the forefront of my mind. We do not know how many children and young people hold additional caring roles; this figure has been put at 800,000 but this is likely to be an underestimate as many may simply see themselves as helping out around the home. Plus, more will certainly have taken up new caring roles during the pandemic due to illness, bereavement, or enduring social distancing restrictions.

Pandemic-related disruption in the routines of children and young people whose parents and carers, close relatives or siblings have long-term illnesses or chronic conditions is particularly acute, with more to do and fewer opportunities to seek respite in learning, seeing friends or taking part in hobbies or support groups. Indeed, understandable concerns about clinical vulnerabilities and the risk of infection has meant shielding from the virus effectively ended regular support from family, friends and home carers. The result could be a decline in the mental and physical health of both the child and family member. It really is a desperate situation.

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